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"He is an exceptional player", said Uruguay's veteran coach Oscar Tabarez.

Exquisite technique, timing and teamwork were all present as the two combined to score a goal inside the first 10 minutes that few sides at the tournament would have been able to prevent.

Despite being one of just five teams to have won the World Cup a couple of times and boasting two of the finest strikers in European soccer in its attack, Uruguay flew under most people's radar heading into the World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo lit up the World Cup in his own inimitable style, curling in a late free kick to complete a remarkable hat-trick in a group match between Portugal and Spain. Messi on the other hand only managed one.

Portugal will be disappointed with their performance against Uruguay after boasting nearly 70 per cent of possession and firing off 20 shots.

They had 61 percent possession, played more than double the number of passes as Uruguay and had 20 attempts compared to six from their opponents.

After the first Cavani's goal -where Luis Suarez delivered the ball over his head, finishing off the Portuguese goalkeeper- Portugal tried unsuccessfully to get close to the South American area.

Santos was inevitably asked about Ronaldo on the eve of the knockout clash at Fisht Stadium and the Portugal boss revealed he had won himself a free coffee after betting that he would field questions on the five-time Ballon d'Or victor.

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"It is normal it was the time we were World Cup winners, so that is obviously what they remember", Mbappe said. With that, dreams of a quarter-final between the two greatest players were shattered.

Cavani's header in the seventh minute and a curled first-time shot in the 62nd, seven minutes after Pepe had equalized for Portugal, take his total for the tournament to three.

"The truth is, it was really exciting", Cavani said.

Uruguay will now lock horns with France, who earlier defeated Argentina 4-3 in their round of 16 match, at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod on July 6.

Well, did you know neither Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi have scored a goal in a World Cup knockout match. "I hope it's going to be a great clash", he said.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos knew the question about Portugal's dependence on Ronaldo was coming, and said he even won a coffee because of it after making a bet with the team's press officer ahead of Friday's news conference. "The team didn't win because Uruguay scored twice".

"At this stage of the tournament I think you need a flawless game to be able to advance", Suarez said after the South Americans vanquished Portugal.

"But we have a very strong team in terms of the mindset and we will always bank on the collective against any rival".